Redhawks ‘absolutely pumped’ to score a victory over team that was in last year’s Final Four.

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This was big-time.

Hosting the school’s first NCAA postseason event since it finished its transition to Division I status three years ago, the Seattle U men’s soccer team faced off against one of the luminous names in college soccer and, using stout defense, defeated UCLA 1-0 in a second-round NCAA tournament match Sunday night at Championship Field at Cherry and 14th.

The 11th-seeded Redhawks (18-3-1), tied with Creighton with the most wins in Division I, advance to face sixth-seeded Syracuse (14-5-3) in a third-round match Sunday at Syracuse. The Orange came from behind to defeat Dartmouth 2-1 on Sunday.

How important was the win for Seattle U?

Shane Haworth, Seattle U’s senior keeper who recorded four saves while weathering 10 shots by UCLA (11-8-1) during a nearly nonstop Bruin assault in the second half, was aglow after the match against a team that has won four national titles and was in last year’s Final Four.

“I think I speak for everybody on this team when I say we are absolutely pumped that we came out with this win,” said Haworth, an Emerald Ridge graduate.

Senior forward Hamza Haddadi, a Shorewood grad, scored Seattle U’s lone goal in the 39th minute when he caught up to a long pass from Nick Prasad and, from just inside the top of the box, slipped a roller past UCLA keeper Juan Cervantes.

“Shane and I have been here a while,” Haddadi said. “I think if you would have asked us four years ago if we would have been here in this situation, we would have said probably not. The strides this program has made are unbelievable. It’s amazing to be a part of it all.”

The team’s steady play all season, which included a win over crosstown rival Washington, validated Seattle U’s seeding in the tournament.

“It doesn’t surprise us,” Haddadi said of the win, recognizing it will do much to legitimize the merits of SU soccer. “We’ve planned on being here, being in this exact situation. This might surprise other people around the nation, but now we’re looking at Syracuse and what we’re going to do there.

“A lot of people didn’t think we were going to be here,” he added. “The most satisfying thing coming out of this win is, this team isn’t a fluke. This is real. We can compete, and we can win.”

What coach Pete Fewing saw was a sterling defensive effort in the second half.

“UCLA is extremely dangerous,” Fewing said. “They’ve got four guys with 20 points, which is pretty unusual for college soccer. So we had to defend from all areas.

“We were put on our heels a lot,” he said. “We had them on their heels, and then we had to weather a lot.

“That’s how it happens in a championship. You have to kick balls out. Kudos to our guys for handling the legacy of UCLA.”

Haworth was delighted with his team’s defensive performance.

”They had the ball most of the half, and with a 1-0 lead, protecting that for an entire 45 minutes is stressful,” he said. “But I tell you what, man, I could not be more proud of everybody, from Hamza up front to Kyle (Bjornethun) in center-back. We came out on top.”